Bard News & Events

Press Release


Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is the focus of the eleventh annual Bard Music Festival, which takes place over two weekends, August 11-13, and August 18-20, on Bard College’s scenic Hudson River Valley campus. Codirected by Leon Botstein and Robert Martin, this year’s festival, Beethoven and His World, features eleven concert programs ranging in scale from full orchestral and choral events to solo and chamber concerts. There will be preconcert talks, a symposium, and three panel discussions, on topics including "Beethoven’s Teachers and Contemporaries," "Beethoven and Religion," and "Beethoven’s Creative Process." Concerts feature internationally renowned singers and instrumental soloists as well as the Bard Festival Orchestra, conducted by Mr. Botstein.

As the most accepted and acknowledged symbol of Western musical culture, Beethoven’s music and personality have commanded the attention of composers, performers, and listeners for over 200 years. A figurehead for nineteenth-century romanticism and a precursor of modernism in the twentieth century, Beethoven is virtually synonymous with the idea of originality. At the same time, selections from his most recognized works have almost become clichés as they have been appropriated by a startlingly contradictory range of personal and political ideologies.

While Beethoven’s works are a mainstay of the modern concert hall, rarely are they presented with the scope and historical scrutiny of the 2000 Bard Festival. The festival will systematically reexamine Beethoven’s influential stature by exploring his compositional practices and intentions, the nature of his personality, his life in Bonn and Vienna, and the form and character of his music. It will also present many works that achieved great popularity in his lifetime but have since fallen out of the repertory. Thus, through a reappraisal of Beethoven in his historical context, the Bard Festival seeks to illuminate the ways Beethoven and his music may continue to influence music and culture in the twenty-first century.

As in previous seasons, a book of essays by noted scholars, Beethoven and His World, edited by Michael P. Steinberg and Scott Burnham, has been created expressly for the festival and published by Princeton University Press. The book will be available during the Festival to enhance the experience for concertgoers.

The Bard Music Festival was launched in 1990 as an annual two-week summer festival. Recitals and chamber concerts take place in Bard’s intimate, 370-seat F.W. Olin Hall; orchestra concerts are presented in an 800-seat acoustical tent on campus grounds. Bard College is located 90 miles north of New York City on a 600-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River. Since 1993 the Bard Music Festival has also been presented in the fall at Lincoln Center as part of their Great Performers Series. For ticket and program information for the Bard Music Festival, call the box office at (845) 758-3226. Food and beverages are available for purchase before the concerts. Ticket and program information can also be found on the Bard Music Festival website at


Friday, August 11, 2000

PROGRAM ONE "1785-1795" (Olin Auditorium): The festival opens on Friday, August 11 with a preconcert talk by Leon Botstein at 8:00 p.m., followed by a survey of Beethoven’s youthful chamber music works at 8:30 p.m. In many of these he eschews the traditional sonata mold for less common formats, including several selected Songs and the Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 103 for Wind Instruments (1792). Other early period works foreshadow elements of his mature style, including the Quartet in E-flat Major, WoO 36, (1785), the Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 3, (c. 1794), and the Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3 (1793-94).

Saturday, August 12, 2000

PANEL ONE "Beethoven the Man" (Bertelsmann Campus Center): Panelists Christopher Gibbs, Sanna Pederson, and others will weigh in on the subject at 10:00 a.m.

PROGRAM TWO "1796-1802" (Olin Auditorium): The chronological exploration of some of Beethoven’s lesser-known chamber works continues at 1:00 p.m., with a preconcert talk by Robert Martin, followed by the second concert of the Festival at 1:30 p.m. Featured are Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3 (1796-98), Serenade in D Major, Op. 25 for Flute, Violin, and Viola (1801), Six Songs, Op. 48 (c. 1801-02), and Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3 (1797-98).

PROGRAM THREE "Rhetoric and Narrative" (Festival Tent): Owen Jander gives the preconcert talk at 7:30 p.m., followed by an 8:00 p.m. concert, which opens with the most ambitious – and subversive – of Beethoven’s youthful works, the Cantata on the Death of the Emperor Joseph II, WoO 87 (1790). This work celebrates the Emperor’s liberal policies while making a thinly disguised dig at the church, referring to his defeat of a "monster named fanaticism." Three middle-period works round out the program: the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58 (1805-06), "Tremate, empi, tremate," Op. 116 (Bettoni), and the Symphony No. 6, in F Major, Op. 68 ("Pastoral") (1807-08).

Sunday, August 13, 2000

PANEL TWO "Meaning and Interpretation" (Bertelsmann Campus Center): At 10 a.m., panelists Mark Evan Bonds, Scott Burnham, Owen Jander, and Harmut Krones convene for a polemic on the interpretive tradition in Beethoven’s music.

PROGRAM FOUR "1803-1808" (Olin Auditorium): The preconcert talk, by Mary Sue Morrow, begins at 1:00 p.m. and will be followed by a 1:30 p.m. chamber music concert, featuring the Piano Sonata No. 22 in F Major, Op. 54 (1804). This two-movement work has long been overshadowed by the colossal Waldstein and Appassionata, which preceded and followed it, respectively. Of greater renown is the String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2 ("Razumovsky") (1806), performed along with a selection of Songs, and Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 2 (1808).

PROGRAM FIVE "1809-1812" (Olin Auditorium): The first weekend of the Festival draws to a close on 4:30 p.m. with a preconcert talk by Glenn Stanley, followed by a 5:00 p.m. concert. Opening the program is the sublime Three Equali for Four Trombones, WoO 30 (1812), a work performed at Beethoven’s funeral, followed by the Six Variations on an Original Theme in D Major, Op. 76 for Piano (1809), Sonata in G Major, Op. 96 for piano and violin (1812-13), a selection of Songs, and the String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74 (1809).



Friday, August 18, 2000

SYMPOSIUM "Revolution and the Arts" (Bertelsmann Campus Center): The second weekend of the festival will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a daylong symposium chaired by Michael P. Steinberg, featuring Scott Burnham, Stanley Cavell, Charles Rosen, and others.

PROGRAM SIX "Beethoven in His Own Time: Greatest Hits" (Olin Auditorium): This performance with commentary begins at 8:00 p.m., and features works that brought Beethoven acclaim in his day but have since fallen out of the repertory. The concert opens with several of his Brass Marches, followed by the Waltz in E-flat Major, WoO 84, for Piano (1824), Waltz in D Major, WoO 85, for Piano (1825), Six Ecossaises for Piano, WoO 83 (1806), Two Marches from Op. 45, for Two Pianos (1802-03), Ten Variations on "La stessa, la stessissima" from Salieri’s Falstaff, WoO 73 (1799), an arrangement for Piano Trio of the Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36 (1805), third and fourth movements, arrangements of Folksongs from the British Isles, "Adelaide" (F.v. Matthisson), Op. 46 (1795-96), and the Septet in E- flat Major, Op. 20 (1799-1800).

Saturday, August 19, 2000

PROGRAM SEVEN "Beethoven’s Teachers and Contemporaries" (Olin Auditorium): Beginning at 10:00 a.m., this performance with commentary by Elaine Sisman features works by Luigi Cherubini, Jan Ladislav Dussek, Christian Gottlob Neefe, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Antoine Reicha, and others.

PROGRAM EIGHT "1813-1820" (Olin Auditorium): Katherine Syer gives the preconcert talk at 1:00 p.m., followed by the 1:30 p.m. performance of the Fugue in D Major, Op. 137, for String Quintet, Thirty-three Variations in C Major on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, for Piano (1819; 1822-23), Sonata in D Major, Op. 102, No. 2 for Piano and Cello, Elegischer Gesang, Op. 118, for Four Voices with String Quartet Accompaniment (1814), and selections from Folksong Arrangements with Piano Trio Accompaniment.

PROGRAM NINE "Heroism Triumphant" (Festival Tent): William Kinderman gives the preconcert talk at 7:30 p.m., followed by an 8:00 p.m. performance of Zur Namensfeier, Overture in C Major, Op. 115 (1814-15), Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92 (1811-12), Wellingtons Sieg, oder Die Schlacht bei Vittoria ("Battle Symphony"), Op. 91 (1813), and the Overture and Incidental Music to Egmont, Op. 84 (J.W.v. Goethe) (1809-10).

Sunday, August 20, 2000

PANEL THREE "Beethoven’s Creative Process" (Bertelsmann Campus Center): William Kinderman, Richard Kramer, Birgit Lodes, Richard Wilson, and Lewis Lockwood address the topic from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

PROGRAM TEN "1820-1827" (Olin Auditorium): This program concentrating on Beethoven’s late period, opens with the last of the thirty-two sonatas, the lofty, two-movement, Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111 (1821-22), String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127 (1823-25), Birthday Cantata for Prince Lobkowitz, WoO 106 (1823), Canons for chorus, and the transcendent String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135 (1826).

PROGRAM ELEVEN "Beethoven and Religion" (Festival Tent): The festival concludes at 5:00 p.m. with Beethoven’s sacred masterwork, the Missa Solemnis, Op. 123 (1819-23), preceded by a preconcert talk by Birgit Lodes at 4:30 p.m.

FESTIVAL ARTISTS in 2000 include John Aler, tenor; Randy Bowman, flute; Cullan Bryant, piano; John Cheek, bass-baritone; Melvin Chen, piano; Colorado String Quartet; Helen Donath, soprano; Stephan Genz, baritone; Hélène Grimaud, piano; Jacques Thibaud String Trio; Juliette Kang, violin; Erica Kiesewetter, violin; Ludwig String Quartet; Robert Martin, cello; New York Virtuoso Singers; Nardo Poy, viola; Dmitry Rachmananov, piano; Cynthia Raim, piano; Charles Rosen, piano; Julie Rosenfeld, violin; Siiri Schütz, piano; Marietta Simpson, mezzo-soprano; John Spitz, cello; Steven Tharp, tenor; Blanca Uribe, piano; Wihan String Quartet; Bard Music Festival Chamber Players; Bard Music Festival Orchestra, and Leon Botstein, conductor.

For ticket and program information for the Bard Music Festival, write to Bard Music Festival, Bard College, PO Box 5000, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000; call (845) 758-3226; or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001